Five years after The Year of Microcredit, Radio Netherlands Worldwide wants to take the discussion a step further.
Starting in January 2010, microfinance, under the banner Microfinance: who profits?, will be a central topic on both radio and internet.
RNW will explore and assess microfinance through a variety of articles and video portraits. The central question is: Are we on the right path with microfinance, is it working?
And we want to hear from you as well; your opinion and experience with microfinance is always welcome.
Entrepeneurs across the world can apply for microfinance if they cannot get a loan at an ordinary bank. A vast array of people have been granted loans including a Nicaraguan tortilla baker, a poor woman in India and a moped rental shop in the Netherlands.
Thanks to microcredit, all these people can invest in their businesses. Entrepreneurs in some countries have to pay very high interest rates and microfinance organisations make huge profits. Is that really what microcredit is all about? Do they really manage to reach the poorest of the poor?
"If we are to look at microfinancing with a critical eye, we have to take the rose-coloured glasses off" says RNW editor-in-chief Rik Rensen.
At an event focusing on Microfinance organised by RNW on 25 January in the Peace Palace in the Hague, Princess Máxima, special Microfinance adviser to the United Nations, and Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders both welcomed RNW's critical approach.
RNW's Dutch, English, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and French websites are all carrying the Microfinance: who profits? dossier. The most interesting response from readers will be discussed on a monthly basis.